Alexi Giannoulias in 2010 IL Senate Debates


On Principles & Values: Accuses Kirk of economic treason for fundraising in China

Giannoulias accused Kirk of "economic treason" for raising money from US businessmen in China the day before a vote on overseas business, prompting Kirk to label his opponent "desperate and dishonorable."

Kirk's fundraiser was held not in China but via Internet video conferencing, and the event was scheduled long before Kirk's May 28 vote, his campaign said. The fundraiser with 12 citizens working in Beijing raised about $6,000.

Giannoulias refused to back away from his accusation tying Kirk's vote t the money. He said Kirk has put China's interest ahead of that of the US. "It can be called nothing other than an act of economic treason," said Giannoulias.

Kirk blasted the Democrat. "Alexi Giannoulias is running a desperate and dishonorable campaign," Kirk said in a statement. "I have worn our country's uniform for 21 years, and to accuse me of treason in any context is beyond the pale. Giannoulias is a desperate candidate who is now dishonoring the office he aspires to."

Source: Chicago Tribune coverage of 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 21, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Clean energy future for national security & job creation

Q: As a friend of the President, what midcourse corrections would you advise him to take?

GIANNOULIAS: There was an omnibus spending bill which had thousands of earmarks, a ton of pork; I would have voted against it. I think President Obama should have vetoed it.

Q: I'm talking about going forward, though.

GIANNOULIAS: Going forward, I think we need to do everything we can to create a sense of urgency when it comes to a clean energy future. I think it's a priority not just from a moral perspective, but from a national security, from a global competitiveness, and from a job creation standpoint. And we need to do everything we can to incentivize the private sector again to start hiring. That means tax cuts. That means making it a better business environment. That means increasing access to capital. There is a bill that would provide $30 billion to community banks. $12 billion in tax breaks to middle to small business. This is something that Congressman Kirk voted against.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Government Reform: I streamlined & cut Treasurer's Office staff by 17%

Q: To what extent is the Federal Government responsible, if at all, for bailing out virtually bankrupt states like Illinois?

KIRK: The economic situation for our state is terrible. [We should] return fiscal responsibility without someone bailing out even more irresponsible decisions led by the current team that runs the State of Illinois, including my opponent.

GIANNOULIAS: We've got some enormous challenges here in Illinois. I've been screaming from the rooftops as State Treasurer. We talked abou pension reform from the very beginning. Unlike Congressman Kirk who has doubled our national debt, we've actually found ways to cut our discretionary spending when needed. We've streamlined services in the State Treasurer's Office. I've cut my workforce by 17%. Congressman Kirk proudly said he voted twice for bailouts of the biggest Wall Street banks. But voted against the Recovery Act, which provides emergency stimulus and funding to states and municipalities that have been devastated.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Jobs: Losing job is more than just a paycheck; it affects morale

Q: What kind of midcourse correction should Obama make?

GIANNOULIAS: We should have had a laser-like focus on creating jobs. If people aren't working, they're not gonna be able to pay their mortgages. And we're gonna continue to have a housing market collapse. Losing a job is more than just losing a paycheck; it affects your morale; it affects our communities; and it makes us a less secure nation. So, we need to do everything we can to create private sector jobs and to stimulate the private sector.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Principles & Values: I told the truth about my mistakes; my opponent has not

colorful pasts that we don't even want to do business with, but that doesn't represent the thousands of people--

Q: Were you aware that there were crime figures getting loans from your bank? You were a loan officer there.

GIANNOULIAS: If I knew then what I know now, these are not the kind of people that we do business with. But that's not--

Q: You're saying you didn't know? Did you know that they were crime figures that you were loaning to?

GIANNOULIAS: We didn't know the extent of that activity or improper. Never. The difference between myself and Congressman Kirk is I've always told the truth. And principles matter. Values matter. And as I mentioned earlier, you may not always agree with me, but you will always know where I stand. I will always tell you the truth. And that's what we need now more than ever. People are sick and tired of Washington, D.C. politics as usual. Congressman Kirk has to answer to voters on why he didn't tell the truth on his record.

Source: ABC News transcript: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 19, 2010

On Corporations: TARP needs more oversight & bank accountability

Q: How would you define the change that has come to America under President Barack Obama?

GIANNOULIAS: It's important to put things in context. If you look at the mess that he inherited and the enormous challenges that he inherited--a trillion dollar deficit, increasing job losses--I think he's done everything he can to help turn this economy around.

Q: But is the country better off in this economic recession because of the change that President Obama brought?

GIANNOULIAS: If you look at what would have happened if some of the measures weren't taken [then yes]. They weren't perfect; when you look at TARP, I would have liked to have seen some more oversights, some more accountability requirement that these banks lend money to help increase access to capital. Something we've done in the state treasurer's office. I think that was a missed opportunity.

Q: [To Kirk]: How do you define the change Obama has brought to America?

KIRK: A tremendous amount of debt.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Corporations: Main Street needs increased access to capital lending

Q: Since August 2009, unemployment has been at 9.5% or higher. That's 14 straight months. What does the federal government do at this point to spur job creation?

GIANNOULIAS: One of the problems is D.C. politicians who have forgotten what it's like on Main Street. The biggest problems that I hear from my friends in the business community is that there is no lending, that is tough to get a loan there. One of the first things that we need to do is to find ways to increase liquidity and to increase access to capital and to make sure that $1.8 trillion that is sitting on the sidelines in the banking system, which can be leveraged to at least $18 trillion We need to do everything we can to focus on that. We need to focus on green jobs: solar, wind, geothermal, bio-mass. There are so many opportunities but other countries like China are getting ahead of the curve.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Health Care: Reform it and fix it: negotiate drug rates for Medicare

Q: [To Kirk]: You have said that you would lead the charge to repeal health care reform. Is that still your position?

KIRK: That's right.

Q: Mr. Giannoulias, will stand by health care reform as passed by the Congress?

GIANNOULIAS: Look, the health care bill was far from a perfect vehicle. That being said, I think it did some important things that the congressman wants to repeal. The denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, making sure that kids in between college and their first job have health care. And I think morally we shouldn't have 51 million Americans without affordable, basic health care. But again, there's a lot more to be done. I would have loved to have seen a provision there to negotiate drug rates for Medicare the way that the VA does.

KIRK: By the way, coverage of pre-existing conditions was in our bill.

GIANNOULIAS: The difference is he wants to repeal it, I want to reform it and fix it and make sure that it works for small businesses and their families.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Principles & Values: Aware his Broadway Bank lent to criminals, but not extent

Q: Your family bank, the Broadway Bank, was seized by regulators; it went under. Were you aware of some of the loan activities to criminal figures?

GIANNOULIAS: Look, the way a community bank does business--when you run for office, these stories get sensationalized. When a bank decides who to give a loan to, they look at the credit-worthiness of the borrower. They look at the credit score of the borrower. They look at the appraisal value of a property. Of course, there are some individuals with colorful pasts that we don't even want to do business with, but that doesn't represent the thousands of people--

Q: Were you aware that there were crime figures getting loans from your bank? You were a loan officer there.

GIANNOULIAS: If I knew then what I know now, these are not the kind of people that we do business with. But that's not--

Q: You're saying you didn't know? Did you know that they were crime figures that you were loaning to?

GIANNOULIAS: We didn't know the extent of that activity

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Social Security: Increase taxable wage base instead of raising retirement age

Q: On social security, would you look at upping the retirement age?

GIANNOULIAS: We're going to have to take a look at what the deficit commission says and look at their ideas. I'm personally not in favor of increasing the age limit. I do think we need to look at different options on the revenue side, maybe increasing the taxable wage base, finding ways to get more revenue, but I'm all for strengthening social security, not diminishing it.

Source: NBC's Meet the Press: 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 10, 2010

On Principles & Values: Fallout from the April failure of his family's Broadway Bank

President Barack Obama sought to boost the prospects of the man seeking the U.S. Senate seat he once held. Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias is "not in it for the special interests, he's in it for your interest," Obama said at the Drake Hotel. "I hope you're fired up. I need it." Obama has placed his political capital and prestige on the line for the seat, in a race that offers a symbolic referendum on the president.

Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee, and Giannoulias have spent much of their campaign debating who is least trustworthy. Giannoulias has dealt with fallout from the April failure of his family's Broadway Bank, while Kirk was forced to apologize for exaggerating his biography.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek coverage of 2010 IL Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Illinois Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Illinois Senate Debates.
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Alexi Giannoulias on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010